So I saw these Eggnog Mini-Cakes in the King Arthur Flour catalog along with a recipe, and couldn't wait to make them. I ordered the festive holiday molds, but decided to pass on the eggnog flavor, and just replace the milk with eggnog. Wrong move. The cakes came out all right, like your average yellow cake, but they didn't taste noggy. I was guilty of licking the batter bowl, though, and that did taste like eggnog. Go fig. Decorating with royal icing is a fun project.
I also visited the family in New York for the holidays. Instead of a single birthday cake, my twin sister made the long trip to Carrot Top Pastries in Manhattan's Washington Heights and got slices of 3 cakes to create a sampler. I doubted it was worth the trip, and was so wrong! The Black Forest and Chocolate Mousse cakes were to die for, and I'm told the German Chocolate was good (I have a prejudice against baked coconut). I also went to Sunday brunch at B Bar and Grill in Manhattan, but my Eggs Benedict played second fiddle to the fresh-baked banana bread they bring you in place of a traditional bread basket. The bread is filling, but you can take the leftovers home. And their Peach Bellini was tasty, too. My dad's birthday falls near mine, and I took him and the family out to nearby Casa Calamari in Bensonhurst. Go if you're in the neighborhood. The prices are good, the portions are huge, and the food is fab -- I highly recommend the penne vodka and seafood ravioli. Happy new year!!
Eggnog Mini Cakes by King Arthur Flour
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (4 ounces) softened butter
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cup (8 3/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon eggnog flavor
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/4 cup (9 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the wells of a holiday mini-cake pan or 12 silicone cupcake molds.
Beat the oil, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, eggnog flavor and nutmeg until pale yellow and thick. Whisk the flour and baking powder together, and blend into the egg mixture alternately with the milk, beating until smooth. Use 2 tablespoons batter per cup, for the holiday cupcake pan; or 1/4 cup batter per silicone cupcake mold. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until the cakes spring back when touched in the center. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack. To finish, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
Yield: 30 mini cakes.
Variation: Bake in a full-size (9-cup minimum) bundt-style pan for 50 to 60 minutes.